Welcome to something a little bit different today - I am a participant in the Holiday Tales & Traditions blog hop hosted by the fabulous Bernie over at Needle & Foot! Bernie decided we all needed a bit more Christmas cheer in this weird year of 2020, and asked several of us bloggers to share some holiday memories with you all. Sounds like fun, right? Here's a list of the other bloggers who are participating...
Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts
Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl
Mari of Academic Quilter
Carole of From My Carolina Home
Sandra of MMM! Quilts
Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts
Leanne of Devoted Quilter
Jan of The Colorful Fabriholic
Julie of Me & My Quilts
Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing
Sarah of Sarah Goer Quilts
Bernie of Needle and Foot
So grab a cuppa, snuggle up in a comfortable chair and cruise down memory lane with us as we share our Christmas memories....
This beautiful old home is the focus of many fun Christmas memories for me. It belonged to my great-grandmother, who lived to be very nearly 100 years old, and actually welcomed my husband into the family, telling him she was glad he was a Grady now! Every year the entire family would convene here at Christmas - and what a family it was! She had six children, most of whom lived very nearby, and they all had children, who also had children, so on Christmas morning her home was overrun with cousins!
But before we went to Gran's house on Christmas, we would have Christmas at my grandmother's house. My grandmother instilled a love of handmade gifts in me from an early age. She would always make us matching nightgowns and bathrobes for Christmas, and it was tradition that we would open them up on Christmas Eve as we prepared for bed.
That's me in the background, with my show-off little sister hamming it up for the camera. I was probably about 7 here, as I recognize those cat-eyed glasses! Then we would troop upstairs to bed, with the traditional "butts going up to bed" picture...
....which I can prove was traditional because here's one from a later year! I swear, I don't think my grandmother ever threw a picture away, because there were tons of these in the boxes in my attic.
Another tradition that I wasn't as fond of was the bedroom slippers that my grandfather would always get us as his part of the annual ritual. They had sock uppers and leather bottoms and I always felt like they made my long feet look even longer. He used to tease me about my height and feet, singing, "I've got a gal, she's six foot tall, she sets in the kitchen with her feet in the hall!" But as you can see from this picture, I adored my granddad (that's me on the left) and even when he annoyed me, he could do no wrong. I also found tons of pictures just like this one, with both of us draped all over Granddaddy. He must have been a very patient man!
One of my favorite Christmas memories was Don, the Borden milkman, delivering eggnog. I don't know if it is still available, but I remember Borden eggnog being a beautiful yellow shade, creamy and heavily flavored and specked with nutmeg. It's still my hands-down favorite eggnog! Don delivered that eggnog every year that I can remember and was definitely a holiday fixture.
And here's a funny story about eggnog. Each year as the young men in our family got older, they would reach an age when there would be a drinking straw in their stocking. Why? Because when we would go over to Gran's house for the big family celebration, she would have a huge punch bowl of eggnog. Now, I helped my great-aunt make the eggnog one year. My job was to read the recipe to her so she wouldn't miss anything. When I got to the part for the liquor, I handed her the cup measure. She refused it, and just poured straight from the bottle into the mixture. And poured.... and poured.... and poured. Now that was pretty potent eggnog! But as the day would go on, the eggnog would tend to separate, with the liquor going to the bottom of the punchbowl. The purpose of the straw? To reach the liquor quicker! Yes, my family is a bunch of heathens, but it certainly was a unique rite of passage!
And I just had to laugh when I saw this picture (among many others very similar in one detail). That's the five of us first cousins - from top to bottom, me, my sister Cathy, my cousins Leslie, Jennifer, and Kristen. My grandmother was the photographer of the family, but could seldom take a picture where she didn't cut off someone's head! As the tallest of the bunch, it was usually me. Oh well, small loss there - but it does make me laugh!
We also had a favorite holiday dessert that my grandmother would make every year. It does have alcohol in it, but according to the recipe, you are supposed to make it a couple of days ahead and leave it in the fridge so the alcohol can evaporate off, leaving just the flavor (it never lasted that long around our house!) I don't have a picture - haven't had it in a long time - but I remember how she made it. Bake up a yellow cake mix, then crumble the cake. Chop up some pecans, and mix them in with the cake crumbles. Keep aside a few whole pecan pieces to decorate the top of the cake. Next make whipped cream - a lot of it - with applejack brandy mixed in. Now put down a layer of the cake mixture, top with the whipped cream, and repeat for several layers until you've used up all the cake mixture. Finish with a layer of whipped cream and decorate with the whole pecans. She called this Tipsy Cake and it was SO good! I remember she used to make it in a rectangular clear Pyrex casserole dish, but it's also beautiful in a trifle bowl.
I hope you've enjoyed this little walk down memory lane - I know I have! It was so much fun looking through old pictures and remembering fun times. I hope you'll visit the other participants in the hop and enjoy their memories too!